July 29, 2019 / 5:17 PM / 3 months ago

U.S.' Pompeo hopes for North Korea talks soon, no leaders' summit planned

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo adjusts his earphone during a joint news conference with Argentina's Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie at the end of the hemispheric anti-terrorism summit, in Buenos Aires, Argentina July 19, 2019. REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday he hoped working-level talks to revive denuclearization talks with North Korea could occur “very soon” but emphasized that a follow up leaders’ summit was not planned.

“We hope that we can have working-level discussions very soon,” Pompeo told an audience at The Economics Club of Washington D.C. a day before he travels to Asia.

Asked about the possibility of another summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, he added: “There is nothing in the works. There is nothing planned.”

Pompeo and North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho had been expected to meet on the sidelines of a Southeast Asia security foreign in Bangkok this week.

While a diplomatic source told Reuters last week that Ri had canceled his trip to the conference, Pompeo appeared hopeful of a diplomatic way forward, despite North Korea test-firing two new short-range ballistic missiles on July 25.

Pompeo will also travel to Australia and Micronesia from July 30 to Aug. 6.

A February summit in Vietnam between Trump and Kim collapsed after the two sides failed to reconcile differences between Washington’s demands for Pyongyang’s complete denuclearization and North Korean demands for sanctions relief.

Since their historic June 28 meeting in the Demilitarized Zone separating the two Koreas, Pyongyang has accused Washington of breaking a promise by planning to hold joint military exercises with South Korea in August and warned of a possible end to its freeze on nuclear and long-range missile tests.

Reporting by Lesley Wroughton

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